Monday, August 20, 2018

Kerry Von Erich: 'I must break you.'

Kerry Von Erich as Ivan Drago?
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

You never know what you're going to come across on the world wide web. I recently saw a post in a Facebook group I'm a part of called 'The Von Erichs' that stated Kerry Von Erich was one of three men considered for the role of Ivan Drago in the iconic film Rocky IV. I've been a fan of pro wrestling since the early 80s and had never heard this story. I did some searching and found that one of the other contenders for the role, Nikita Koloff confirmed the story.

The role eventually went to Dolph Lungren. But how cool would it have been for Kerry to have won the part? I'm a self-confessed KVE mark. It was his match against Ric Flair inside a steel cage in 1982 that helped hook me on wrestling. My fandom for him never wavered. I can admit Kerry wasn't the greatest on the mic. However to think that he could have been in my favorite film of the Rocky franchise would have been amazing.

In doing the research for this post, I found an interview with Koloff who explained why Kerry didn't get the role. Simply put, it sounds like he wasn't prepared at the audition. I find it interesting a wrestler from the NWA and World Class Championship Wrestling were under consideration and not a WWF Superstar. Remember just a few years earlier, Hulk Hogan was a small part of Rocky III. Some would argue that move is what helped put Hulkamania on the map. 

I wonder how life for Kerry or Nikita would have changed inside the ring. Drago is an iconic movie villain. Rocky IV is the highest grossing film of the franchise, making more than $300 million worldwide. One would have to assume Vince McMahon would have loved that kind of publicity in his company, snatching up either Von Erich or Koloff much like he did with Hogan during the publicity for Rocky III. 

We all know Kerry eventually went to the WWE but not until 1990. Koloff never made it up north, but he would have been a great foil for Hulkamania as the mighty Russian heel. I've fantasy booked Kerry in the WWF before so I won't repeat myself here. 

Kerry did have a small role in the film Problem Child, something I learned years after the fact. He had the look but could he have done the role of Ivan Drago justice on the big screen? We'll never know but it's fun to think of where his career would have gone had he gotten the part.

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